About Menopause & Heart Palpitations
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If you are an active woman, you may worry if you start to have heart palpitations or a feeling that your heart is not beating regularly. Perhaps you are exercising when this occurs, or you awake from a sound sleep. It's a disturbing feeling, but in most cases, there is no need for worry.
Exercise, stress, medications, alcohol, nicotine, and menopause can trigger heart palpitations. Let your doctor know when you experience a change in your heartbeat.
Menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle. The actual menopause occurs 12 months after the last period. Signs of menopause actually begin as early as a woman's 30s, though the average age of menopause is 51. You may experience vaginal dryness, hot flushes, sleep disturbances and irregular periods. Some women experience heart palpitations, especially during a hot flush.
Heart palpitations are skipped beats, a fluttering sensation, heartbeats that are faster than normal and heartbeats that are pumping harder than usual. You can feel the sensation in your throat, neck or chest. They can occur when you are exercising, resting or going about your normal activities.
When menopause occurs, the ovaries stop making the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The process starts in a woman's late 30s, called perimenopause or the stage before menopause. The decrease in hormones continues through a woman's 40s. Women may experience the symptoms of menopause during their 30s and 40s as the hormones fluctuate. Heart palpitations are one of many symptoms such as hot flushes, disrupted sleep, urinary incontinence, mood swings, and of course, irregular periods.
Heart palpitations can increase the heart rate 8 to 16 beats per minute and even increase heart rates up to 200 beats per minute, according to epigee.org. They usually occur sporadically and may increase with the use of caffeine, alcohol or when hormone replacement therapy first begins. Decongestants, diet pills or any other stimulants may cause the palpitations, too. For the menopausal woman, heart palpitations usually accompany hot flushes.
If you are menopausal and are having heart palpitations, tell your doctor. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and diet pills. If you are exercising or being active when heart palpitations occur, rest. If you become dizzy, faint or your heart rate does not settle down after rest, go to a hospital. Heart palpitations are normal for menopausal women, but there may be an underlying problem such as cardiovascular disease.